Preparing to return to work after COVID-19
As COVID-19 restrictions are easing in most parts of the world, going back to the normal work environment is in the forefront of most people’s minds. Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, there are many things that will significantly help before the transition as well as during the first few weeks of getting back into the swing of things.
And the thing is, due to everyone becoming accustomed to the ‘new way’ of being in the last few months, unfortunately there is not a quick fix so there are many things to take into consideration.
As every business is unique in its own way, there will be different challenges that will arise, so adapting well in your individual circumstance is paramount to a smooth transition in returning to work.
Communication is key
Possibly the most important thing in all of this is communication. Communication with your boss or if you are the boss, communication with your staff will be instrumental in ensuring a smooth back to work transition for everyone involved.
If people are unsure as to what is happening or what policies and procedures are in place for when it comes time to returning back to work, this could really make or break the total operation.
So, to make sure there are as little disruptions as possible, there are many effective communicative solutions that can be put in place.
- Send out a group email with all factors in mind whilst also being empathetic to the many different people in your workplace (and if you are an employee – make sure you thoroughly read these emails). Ask yourself, what do people need to know? Consider including information on the steps you plan to undertake in regard to ensuring that the workplace health and safety regulations are met with care, any changes in layout or flow of the workplace, details on staff wellbeing, the overall plan in place and any important additional information.
- Also consider what you would like to communicate with clients, suppliers, investors and anyone else who is related to your business. Collate an email catered to them, or give them a call!
Workplace Health and Safety
There are many regulations put in place that are rapidly changing, so staying up to date with the current rules and regulations is key.
You want everything to be above board, and you want your staff to feel completely at ease with your processes, trusting that you have everything under control.
- Not only should you put in place social distancing guidelines, but you should also be monitoring and maintaining the guidelines so that everything is running smoothly.
- Book in regular commercial professional cleaning services to ensure cleaning is prioritised and everything is professionally sanitised. This should include all areas in your workplace including bathrooms, kitchens, desks and meeting rooms. No room should be neglected.
- Ensure staff are provided with everything they need to keep themselves protected and prioritising their own personal hygiene. This includes accessible handwashing stations, hand sanitisers, face masks, alcohol wipes and gloves.
- Also make sure you have a plan in place in the very unfortunate event of a COVID-19 spike.
Reimagining your workspace
One of the things that you may have to prepare for when returning to work is changes in your workspace. Things may have to look a little different, so preparing accordingly is important.
- Ensure there is social distancing in place between employees and visitors. This may look like repositioning the front desk, moving chairs or applying social distancing stickers to the ground. Also, if you work in an office space, desks may have to be moved further apart to ensure that employees aren’t sitting too close to one another.
- Manage the flow of how many people are in your workplace at any given time. You will need to check on your current laws for this one, but there are regulations in place where you can only have a certain amount of people per square metre, so brainstorming how this can be managed is important.
- Putting a booking system in place for common areas like meeting spaces, kitchen areas and the photocopy room. One of such solutions is Luxafor Switch, which is a remote-controlled meeting room and workstation availability indicator.
- Utilise innovative productivity solutions to ensure everything is being done well and efficiently, despite the disruptions. Interruptions can increase the already-high stress levels so it’s important to take care of them before they arise.
Some things may still look different and that’s okay. It may not be necessary for all staff to return. If they can continue working effectively and efficiently from home, then go with that!
- Ask yourself, is it necessary for [enter staff members name here] to return, or is it more efficient for them to stay working from home?
- How would it work if we introduced shift changes so that there are less people at work at any given time?
And last but certainly not least, is wellbeing. Prioritising the wellbeing of your staff is extremely important.
- There may be some people that are anxious about COVID-19 and would still prefer to stay isolated. Respect their wishes and hear them out.
- If you have staff that travel on public transport, offer a different solution if they are feeling uneasy.
- Just like the first paragraph, communication is key so make sure you are always in open communication with your staff, letting them know that they can come to you with any concerns that they may have.
So there we have it, a whole heap of tips and tricks for preparing to return to work after COVID-19. I know it’s a trying time for us all and the disruption has been difficult to say the least, however I think with the right protocols in place and the right attitude towards the whole process, things will be okay.
And on the plus side, you will get back into a routine and enjoy some long awaited human interaction outside of the four walls of your house. Win win!